Diversity of Plant Knowledge as an Adaptive Asset: A Case Study with Standing Rock Elders1
- 445 Downloads
Diversity of Plant Knowledge as an Adaptive Asset: A Case Study with Standing Rock Elders. Indigenous knowledge is often represented as being homogeneous within cultural groups, and differences in knowledge within communities are interpreted as a lack of cultural consensus. Alternatively, differences in knowledge represent a range of possibilities for communities to respond to social and ecological change. This paper examines the diversity of plant knowledge among elders who live in the Standing Rock Nation of the northern Great Plains. Elders know how to use different plants, and also hold different knowledge about the same plants. Analysis indicates that elders each contribute unique, complementary, and seemingly contradictory plant knowledge to their community. Compiled seasonal rounds help visualize differences in knowledge about the temporal availability of plants. These differences are linked to variations in use, including references to specific gathering sites, strategies to harvest multiple species, and selection of plants at different stages of development. Elders’ diverse knowledge about the seasonal availability of plants may facilitate community adaptation to climate change in the 21st century.
Key WordsIndigenous knowledge Lakota Dakota intracultural diversity food plants Standing Rock Nation
The authors would like to thank the director of NFE, Luella Harrison, for her guidance throughout the research process. We are indebted to the Standing Rock Elder Advisory Council for their enthusiasm and support. Thanks to all of the elders who shared their knowledge, including Therese Martin, Leonard Village Center, Stella Whitesell Guggolz, Theo Iron Cloud, and those named earlier in the text. We would also like to thank Timothy Fahey, Kurt Jordan, Stephen Morreale, the editors, and the anonymous reviewers for valuable insights that strengthened this work. This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship under Grant No. DGE-0707428.
- ———, C. Folke, and M. Gadgil. 1995. Traditional ecological knowlege, biodiversity, resilience and sustainability. Beijer International Institute, Stockholm.Google Scholar
- CDC [Center for Disease Control and Prevention]. 2007. National diabetes surveillance system. http://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/statistics/index.htm (6 April 2010).
- Gilmore, M. 1991. Uses of plants by the Indians of the Missouri River region. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska.Google Scholar
- Harmon, D. 2002. In light of our differences: How diversity in nature and culture makes us human. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington D.C.Google Scholar
- IPNI. 2011. The International Plant Names Index. http://www.ipni.org (5 January 2011).
- Jones, L. 1998. Culturally important plants of the Lakota along the Missouri River, Pre–Oahe Dam. Fort Yates, North Dakota: Standing Rock Tribal Historic Preservation Office.Google Scholar
- Joyce, L. A., D. Ojima, G. A. Seielstad, R. Harris, and J. Lackett. 2001. Potential consequences of climate variability and change for the Great Plains. In: Climate Change Impacts on the United States—Foundation Report: The Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, eds. National Assessment Synthesis Team, 191–217. Cambridge: United Kingdom: Press Syndicate of the University of Cambridge.Google Scholar
- Kassam, K. 2009. Biocultural diversity and indigenous ways of knowing: Human ecology in the Arctic. University of Calgary Press, Calgary, Alberta (Canada).Google Scholar
- ——— 2010. Pluralism, resilience, and the ecology of survival: Case studies from the Pamir Mountains of Afghanistan. Ecology and Society 15:8.Google Scholar
- ——— and The Wainwright Traditional Council. 2001. Passing on the knowledge: Mapping human ecology in Wainwright, Alaska. Arctic Institute of North America, Calgary, Alberta (Canada).Google Scholar
- Kindscher, K. 1987. Edible wild plants of the prairie: An ethnobotanical guide. University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas.Google Scholar
- Kraft, S. 1990. Recent Changes in the Ethnobotany of Standing Rock Indian Reservation. Department of Geography, University of North Dakota, Master’s thesis.Google Scholar
- Lawson, M. L. 1994. Dammed Indians: The Pick–Sloan Plan and the Missouri River Sioux, 1944–1980. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma.Google Scholar
- Nabhan, G. P., P. Pynes, and T. Joe. 2002. Safeguarding species, languages, and cultures in the time of diversity loss: From the Colorado Plateau to global hotspots. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden:164–175.Google Scholar
- NFE [Standing Rock Nutrition for the Elderly and Caregiver Support]. 2007. Needs assessment 2007. Fort Yates, North Dakota: Standing Rock Tribal Health Department. Google Scholar
- Phillips, W. 2003. Plants of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Mountain Press Publishing Co., Missoula, Montana.Google Scholar
- The Plant List. 2010. Version 1. http://www.theplantlist.org (22 June 2011).
- U.S. Census Bureau. 2009. American community survey demographic and housing estimates: 2005–2009. http://www.census.gov/acs (4 January 2011).
- Ullrich, J., ed. 2008. New Lakota Dictionary: Lakhótiyapi–English, English–Lakhótiyapi & incorporating the Dakota dialects of Yankton–Yanktonai & Santee–Sisseton. Lakota Language Consortium, Bloomington, Indiana.Google Scholar
- USDA–NRCS [United States Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service]. 2010. PLANTS Profiles. http://plants.usda.gov (15 September 2010).